Railway Tales

by D.Y. Even in India, General Brett Was famous as a martinet The real old school, pop-eyes and liver Whose very glance would make you shiver While at his voice, now tiger's growl Now the bereaved hyena's howl Full Colonels, yes, and Brigadiers Would blench and then collapse in tears. At home when ‘Storm' gave place to “Gale The very bearer's face grew pale The syces* hid behind the stables The khidmatgars** beneath the tables As came a startled cry from dhobi “Memsahib, think Sahib got hydrophobi.” Poor Memsahib - or, in English, wife The General led her such a life It was no wonder she was dim And went in awful dread of him Or that their daughter, Ethel, seemed As one who slept and, sleeping, dreamed Of murder foul being done at night Poor little girl, she looked a sight. ‘Twas thus with qualified regret That India heard that General Brett Was posted to the Middle East Which did not like him in the least From Port Sudan to Abbassia They looked on him with hate and fear Until one day he broke the rule You learn at any public school Viz: ‘Kick the boy below, but love And reverence the boy above.' And at a hush-hush conference, graced By someone Very Highly Placed, Spoke out of turn. Well, that was that They handed him a bowler hat All right in London, I daresay But not the headgear for Bombay. Moral: When being offensive always try To pick on those who daren't reply. * syces - grooms ** khidmatgars - An Indian male servant who waits at table.
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